A website for Sky Vegas, www.skyvegas.com, seen in January 2016, featured a page on which text stated "NO LOSE MONTH NO LOSE MONTH THROUGHOUT JANUARY! Play Risk Free throughout January at Sky Vegas - Terms Apply". Further text stated "1. Throughout January at Sky Vegas it is a No Lose Month. 2. Simply opt in to each No Lose offer and play the selected games for 100% Cashback on Net Losses. 3. Check back the day after each offer has expired and your No Lose payment will be in your account for you to enjoy ... We know you don't like to lose and therefore we want to give you the chance to play RISK FREE on various days this January at Sky Vegas. During January there are various offers coming up where you can play risk free on selected games ... All you have to do is opt in and play during each of the promotion period [sic] and if you make a net loss we will credit you back 100% of that up to the below amounts the day after the promotion ... Please note - No Lose Month does not account for losses throughout the month as a whole and is only applied to losses on specific dates for play on specific games as detailed below. No Lose funds will be credited as non-withdrawable cash and must be wagered 1x before being withdrawn". Beneath this text, visitors could click to open terms and conditions, which stated "5. Minimum number of game rounds per promotion do apply 6. Only Net Losses up to the stipulated amount will be credited 100% - £10 or £20 depending upon the promotion ... 8. All No Lose Month payments will be credited as non-withdrawable cash and must be wagered once before any withdrawal is possible".
Two complainants, who understood that there was a limit to the amount that would be credited to cover losing bets and that any money returned was subject to a minimum wagering requirement, challenged whether the claims "NO LOSE" and "Risk Free" were misleading.
Bonne Terre Ltd t/a Sky Vegas stated that they took proactive steps to make clear in the promotion description and terms and conditions that the offer was limited to a capped amount and had a 1X wagering requirement. To support this, they included the phrase "Terms Apply" in the main copy of the promotional image and provided the full terms and conditions below this image. They said they also highlighted the material qualifications that a cap would apply and that the "No Lose Funds" would be payable as non-withdrawable cash with a 1X wagering requirement (which they noted was in italics for additional prominence) immediately below the offer image and above the terms and conditions section. They therefore believed that each of the conditions was clear and would be sufficiently brought to consumers' attention prior to them participating in the promotions.
The ASA considered that consumers would understand the claims "NO LOSE MONTH" and "Play Risk Free" as statements that during January, games would be offered where the original stake was not at risk, meaning that if they lost money on the game it would be refunded to them and withdrawable as cash. The information following this statement clarified that the offer was available on certain games. The terms and conditions further down the page stated that losing stakes would be credited as non-withdrawable cash and needed to be wagered once before withdrawal was possible. We understood that this wagering requirement would introduce a risk factor into the transaction. We therefore considered that the information regarding the wagering requirement therefore contradicted the claims "NO LOSE MONTH" and "Play Risk Free".
We also considered that consumers would understand the statement "play the selected games for 100% Cashback on Net Losses" (particularly in conjunction with the claims "NO LOSE MONTH" and "Play Risk Free") to mean that any money they had lost, after their total stake was deducted from their total winnings, would be entirely refunded in cash, regardless of the amount owed. Further information stated "if you make a net loss we will credit you back 100% of that up to the below amounts" and the terms and conditions outlined that the maximum return would be £10 or £20, depending on the game played. We therefore understood that there was a maximum limit for the cashback on net losses and, while the ad made this information available to consumers, we considered that these qualifications contradicted the claim "100% Cashback on Net Losses". In light of the above, we concluded that the ad was misleading.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
Marketing communications must not mislead the consumer by omitting material information. They must not mislead by hiding material information or presenting it in an unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or untimely manner.
Material information is information that the consumer needs to make informed decisions in relation to a product. Whether the omission or presentation of material information is likely to mislead the consumer depends on the context, the medium and, if the medium of the marketing communication is constrained by time or space, the measures that the marketer takes to make that information available to the consumer by other means. (Misleading advertising), 3.9 3.9 Marketing communications must state significant limitations and qualifications. Qualifications may clarify but must not contradict the claims that they qualify. and 3.10 3.10 Qualifications must be presented clearly.
CAP has published a Help Note on Claims that Require Qualification. (Qualification) and 8.2 8.2 Promoters must conduct their promotions equitably, promptly and efficiently and be seen to deal fairly and honourably with participants and potential participants. Promoters must avoid causing unnecessary disappointment. (Sales promotions).
The ad must not appear again in the form complained about. We told Bonne Terre t/a Sky Vegas to ensure that future qualifications clarified, rather than contradicted, their headline claims, and that offers were not advertised as carrying no risk if a risk-based wagering requirement applied to returned funds and where returned funds were not withdrawable as cash.